City of Brass

City of Brass


The dog days of Ramadan

posted by Aziz Poonawalla
Depending on your reckoning, Ramadan is now about a third of the way complete. The fasting tends to get easier over the course of the month, because we physically acclimate to the routine, and also because the days get somewhat shorter as we progress. However, the fact that the Islamic months are shorter (based on the lunar cycle) than the Gregorian calendar months (based on the solar cycle) means that Ramadan will steadily march towards summer solstice in coming years. Two years ago, Hesham Hassaballah wrote an essay anticipating the advent of the long fasts; now we have truly begun, and it will be even harder next year and the years after that. In fact, since Ramadan moves up about 11 days a year, it will actually be about ten years before Ramadan begins to intersect spring. 
For most of us American muslims, we lack the schedule flexibility that muslims in other countries like Egypt have to reorient our routines around the fast. We simply have to continue our usual routines and accept the additional burden of fasting. But there’s a great article in the NYT that explores how the summertime fasts affect muslim youth, for whom just like everyone else summer is supposed to be, well, summer:

There is no prohibition against playing basketball during Ramadan, a monthlong period of fasting and self-reflection for Muslims, but it has the unfortunate side effect of dehydrating its players. “Since I get thirsty, I don’t want to play that much,” Jay explained. He has fasted from sunup to sundown each day since the holiday started Aug. 11. “So I play with socks and slippers. We all do.” He pointed to a friend, also an observant Muslim, sitting one bench down at the basketball court, in flip-flops. The slippers and flip-flops slow the boys down and send a clear signal: game not on.
The end of August can be an achingly melancholy season, tinged with regret and premature nostalgia for a summer not yet over. But for New York’s observant Muslim teenagers — most start fasting no later than puberty — summer as they knew it summarily ended when daytime fasting began curtailing their options. Out: jaunts to the beach (too thirst-inducing). Out: pizza lunch with friends. Out: playing basketball for keeps.

These kids are going to be in college by the time Ramadan eases out of summer! These kids are quintessentially American of course, but they also are adhering to their religious tradition, and are living proof that there is no inherent conflict. You just adapt. And that’s what our kids do – and it makes me really proud. And inspired. 
As Hesham said in his essay two years ago – “It is through the willful deprivation of what is normally allowed that the soul is strengthened and piety is increased. Each time I reach for a cup of coffee or a cold soft drink–and realize that I can’t have one–I am reminded why I am doing this: For the love of God.”


  • Bhanu tiwari

    The second I navigated to the outrageous The End Of Nations Hubpages Hub I said that Beliefnet’s visitors should act as jury on this link: http://hubpages.com/hub/Global-Union-The-End-Of-Nations

  • Andy

    The real battle for religious freedom lurks beneath the Ground Zero mosque controversy. It is sadly ironic that our public debate presents the mosque proponents as the partisans of liberty: That includes everyone from imam Feisal Rauf, the project’s sharia-touting sponsor, to President Obama, Mayor Bloomberg, and the rest of the Islamist-smitten Left, to the GOP’s own anti-anti-terrorist wing. Yet, wittingly or not, when they champion this mosque and its sponsors, it is the agenda of an alien and authoritarian Islam that they champion — an Islam against which many American Muslims chafe.
    When it comes to liberty, no one in this society has been given a wider berth than the Islamists, the purveyors of this authoritarian Islam, which is the mainstream Islam of the Middle East. Their vise grip on the American Muslim community has been cinched for two decades by the government, the media, and the academy. For our post-American ruling class, “Islamic outreach” means prostituting themselves for Saudi largesse; it means putting the “moderate” label on the Muslim Brotherhood — the Saudi-backed saboteurs whose American operatives boldly promise to “eliminate and destroy Western Civilization from within.”
    The victims of this lethal charade include American Muslims. They, too, crave religious liberty and Western enlightenment. Our elites abandon them to the sharia-mongers. That freedom destroyers have been allowed to pose as freedom defenders ought to tell mosque opponents something: We have done a poor job of explaining the stakes.
    In 1993, I headed up a prosecution team that was preparing to try the “Blind Sheikh” Omar Abdel Rahman and eleven other jihadists for conducting a terrorist war against the United States. The case revealed this country’s Muslim divide.
    On one side were patriotic American Muslims, without whom successful prosecution would have been impossible. Not only did they infiltrate the terror cells, they helped us shape the resulting evidence into a compelling narrative. On the other side were the Muslim Brotherhood’s satellites. These included outfits like CAIR (the Council on American-Islamic Relations), which was formed in 1994 by the Brotherhood’s Hamas-support wing, with seed money from an Islamic “charity” — the Holy Land Foundation — later shut down for financing foreign terrorist organizations. These Brotherhood satellites purport to speak for American Muslims. In fact, they speak for anti-American Muslims, most of whom are outside the United States. They demagogued the case as a phobic criminalization of Islam itself, just as they have libeled America since 9/11 as being “at war with Islam.”
    Translating evidence into English turned out to be a Herculean challenge during our trial preparation. Most of our evidence was in Arabic, because almost all of our defendants had immigrated here from Egypt and Sudan, hotbeds of anti-American Islam. The resulting mounds of documents, wiretap recordings, and inflammatory sermons overstretched the Justice Department’s thin Arabic-language capacity. To ease the strain, we tried to retain some civilians as private contractors. A number of local Muslims expressed interest, but in the end they turned us down.
    BROTHERHOOD ISLAM VS. AMERICAN ISLAM
    Mind you, they wanted to help. They were as offended as anyone by what the terrorists had done. These folks were Americans. They were the kind of Muslims you’re never exposed to, given the media’s preference for jihad apologists who, when not applauding him, claim Osama bin Laden was “made in the U.S.A.” But the would-be translators wanted ironclad assurance that their assistance to the prosecution would be kept confidential. It was an assurance I was not in a position to give, so they politely declined.
    Here’s the most depressing part: It wasn’t really a matter of safety. There was surely some element of that — it goes with the territory in terrorism cases. But these people were mostly worried that they and their families would be ostracized in their communities as traitors to Islam.
    In Muslim communities, I learned, many people — especially American Muslims — were supportive of our investigations. Of course they didn’t like the light of suspicion being shined on Muslims, not any more than Italian Americans liked the attention our mafia cases thrust on their communities. Yet they tuned out the CAIR chorus, just as most sensible people tune out the grievance industry. They reserved most of their resentment for the malevolent, anti-American actors in their midst. They understood that public safety is the government’s highest obligation. As long as they could do it quietly, they were willing to help.
    But doing it quietly was imperative. Most American Muslims are not instinctively different from other Americans. But American Muslim communities are peculiar. In many of them, the leadership of the mosques and Islamic centers is foreign (or at least foreign-influenced). This leadership tends to be anti-Western and arrogant, claiming an Islamic authenticity Americans are said to lack. Many American Muslims are intimidated into silence. They are cowed by the specter of being condemned as too American. In Islam, there is no more grievous offense than causing disunity through infidelity. It is no small thing when community leaders frame a Muslim as insufficiently loyal to the ummah, the notional Islamic nation.
    American Muslims are also taken aback by the ease with which their community leaders straddle the line between preaching Islam and cheerleading for terrorists. Why, they wonder, does their government, the U.S. government, consistently elevate America-bashing Islamists who can’t give a straight answer when asked about Hamas and Hezbollah? Why not highlight Muslims who are pro-American and unambiguously anti-terrorist — Muslims who desperately need the support?
    Most of the mosques and Islamic centers in our country are controlled, to a greater or lesser degree, by the Muslim Brotherhood and its satellites. The North American Islamic Trust (NAIT) was established in the early Seventies to buy up property for the establishment of American mosques and “Islamic centers,” the latter being what the Brotherhood calls “the axis” of the Islamist movement in America. The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) supplies literature and vets imams. Both NAIT and ISNA, along with CAIR and other Brotherhood groups, were identified by the Justice Department as unindicted coconspirators in the recent Hamas-financing prosecution against the Holy Land Foundation. These Islamists owe their vision to the Brotherhood. Just as important, they owe their livelihood, influence, and power to moneyed Middle East patrons, particularly the Saudis.
    The Kingdom and the Brotherhood have combined for a half-century to put American Muslim communities in a stranglehold. They proselytize a fundamentalist interpretation of Islam — an amalgam of Saudi Wahhabism and Brotherhood Salafism — that is virulently anti-Western. Its instruction to Muslims in the United States, Canada, and Europe is voluntary apartheid: Immigrate but don’t integrate, infiltrate but don’t assimilate.
    SHARIA OR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM?
    This brand of Islam is designed to create parallel Muslim enclaves, resistant to America’s freedom culture and to Western civilization, just as it created the liberty-killing “no-go zones” now sprouting up throughout Europe. It is designed to snuff out religious freedom, pressuring American Muslims to adopt the Islamists’ social mores, financial practices, and anti-Western outlook. And the authoritarian device it uses to establish and control these enclaves is sharia, Islam’s legal and political framework, which aspires to control of all aspects of life — not just spiritual life, but all of life.
    It is the Brotherhood’s objective to thread sharia through American law and culture. This mission drives imam Feisal Rauf’s work, as documented by the Center for Security Policy’s Christine Brim in an eye-popping report at Andrew Breitbart’s Big Peace website.
    Since 2006, Rauf has been developing the “Sharia Index Project.” His partners in this venture include longtime Muslim Brotherhood honcho Jamal Barzinji, a top official at the International Institute of Islamic Thought. The IIIT, a major backer of the convicted terrorist Sami al-Arian, is one of the Brotherhood satellites that republished Rauf’s book, What’s Right with Islam Is What’s Right with America, the book that was released in Malaysia under the more telling title, A Call to Prayer from the World Trade Center Rubble: Islamic Dawa in the Heart of America Post-9/11. (The other Brotherhood organization behind the republication of Rauf’s book was the aforementioned ISNA.) As Ms. Brim explains, the purpose of Rauf’s Sharia Index Project is “to benchmark” every country’s compliance with sharia, with an eye toward pressuring them to adopt and enforce more.
    The United States is not going to become a sharia state anytime soon. That obvious fact has commentators pooh-poohing the encroaching peril, even as we watch Europe succumb before our eyes, as if no-go zones, honor killings, the Balkanizing of society, and the strangulation of freedom could never happen here. On Tuesday, for example, in an otherwise insightful column on the Left’s incoherence in the mosque controversy, the Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto took an offhanded swipe at the “fringe right’s ravings about ‘Shariah.’” But are the concerns really “ravings,” and are they truly confined to a right-wing “fringe”?
    It so happened that in the same day’s Journal, Bret Stephens penned a sharp essay about Muslim “moderates” who turn out not to be so moderate. As his counterpoint, he offered a courageous, progressive Muslim reformer, Irshad Manji. Rather than pretending that Islamic doctrine has nothing to do with terrorism, Ms. Manji is forthrightly confronting the doctrine and working to change it. What is it that needs change? As illustrated in her spellbinding book, The Trouble with Islam Today: A Muslim’s Call for Reform in Her Faith, much of what ails Islam is sharia sclerosis. Sharia, she elaborates, represents the legal opinions of classical Muslim jurists, frozen a millennium ago and, ever since, impervious to critical inquiry.
    Frozen it remains thanks to atavistic zealots, prominent among them the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization founded by fundamentalists in the 1920s and lavishly funded by the Saudis since the 1950s, an outfit Manji correctly describes as “the al-Qaeda of its generation.” These Islamists are the true enemies of religious liberty. It is they who foreclose modern Muslims from the right to reason independently, to evolve.
    Whether Ground Zero mosque proponents realize it or not, the cause they are advancing — against the will of the American people, and, perversely, under the guise of “religious freedom” — is the Islamist cause. It is the Brotherhood, not American Muslims, insisting that this monument must be imposed on this sacred spot.
    It is a “considerable comfort,” Mr. Stephens writes, “to know that there are Muslims in the U.S. like Irshad who are working, tirelessly but mainly out of view, toward the cause of reform. They could use more support and recognition.” But, of course, their tireless work must happen “out of view,” because the Islamists have made it too dangerous for them to work openly. And they are denied support and recognition because the post-American ruling class has made its bed with sharia salesmen like Rauf, who blame America for 9/11 and can’t bring themselves to say Hamas is a terrorist organization.
    By contrast, American Muslims grasp that 9/11 was an attack on their country, too. Their emerging leaders, such as Zuhdi Jasser and Steven Schwartz, have started organizations — respectively, the American Islamic Forum for Democracy and the Center for Islamic Pluralism — that promote freedom and offer Muslims an escape from the Brotherhood’s clutches. As Messrs. Jasser and Schwartz relate, American Muslims understand the significance of Ground Zero to our nation, to the families of those who were slaughtered, and to the enemy against whom we are still fighting. They know that, in contrast to the innate intolerance of sharia states, the United States opens its arms to people of all faiths, including Muslims. Like Ms. Manji, they are struggling, against daunting opposition, to forge an Islam that embraces Western values, that reveres religious faith but denies it temporal authority.
    The Ground Zero mosque controversy is not about religious liberty for Muslims. It is about which Islam will thrive in the United States: the one that is fighting Americans, or the one American Muslims are fighting for.

  • http://www.learningquranonline.com learningquranonline

    Ramadan is the beat that a Muslim could get from Allah and we should pray for peace

  • Zev

    Last night, I was on David Asman’s Fox Business Channel show, Scoreboard, debating Imam Dawoud Kringle of the New York State prison system, a GZ mosque supporter. Imam Kringle, who seems like a nice enough fellow, reeled off the usual talking points about how Islam forbids terrorism and, therefore, if someone commits an act of terrorism that act is, by definition, un-Islamic.
    Then came the moment of truth: the very simple question, “Is Hamas a terrorist organization?” Have a look at the YouTube clip below. Like his friend Imam Feisal Rauf, Imam Kringle won’t answer the question. I pressed him, pointing out that it is a very simple question. And it is: Quite apart from the fact that Hamas is formally designated as a terrorist organization under U.S. law, Hamas’s own charter makes abundantly clear — indeed, wears like a badge of honor — that Hamas exists solely for the purpose of driving Israel out of Palestine by violent jihad. Yet the imam cannot bring himself to say Hamas is a terrorist organization.
    This is a game that sharia-promoting Islamists like Feisal Rauf have raised to an art form. As I explain in the debate, it is why they can look you in they eye, claim in all apparent earnestness that they condemn “terrorism,” and yet excuse Hamas, call for the “one-state solution” for Israel, and support the Iranian theocracy — the leading terrorist state in the world. They do not consider the killing of non-Muslims whom they portray as opposing Islam to be terrorism — they call that “resistance.” They know if they merely say they deplore “terrorism,” the media and the Left will swoon and call them “moderates.” But what you think you’re hearing, and what they’re actually saying, are two very different things.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D37mB61mjxU&feature=player_embedded#!

  • aziz
  • aziz

    Aziz,ideology tholio can yo answer this question?
    Do you think Hamas is an terrorist organization?

  • Jack

    As I write, nearly two thousand protesters are gathered outside the location of the future mosque — some having stood in the rain for hours — providing a clear indication that the campaign to stop this project is intensifying. The pollsters tell us that nearly 70 percent of all Americans oppose the structure, yet its sponsors say the edifice will somehow promote “interfaith dialogue” and “mutual understanding.” They must certainly realize at this stage in the process that the mosque will do no such thing, but will instead act as a permanent provocation to a huge segment of Americans who deem it completely inappropriate — if not outright sacrilege.
    Let us remember that the project organizers themselves created this controversy by announcing that the groundbreaking would take place on the ten-year anniversary of the attack, and that the exact site was selected because of its proximity to Ground Zero. Given that fact, the current media meme that this is not a “Ground Zero mosque” is dishonest spin.
    Even more dishonest — and dangerous to this country — is the outrageously biased work in Time, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Newsweek, and on NPR, PBS, MSNBC and CNN that has consistently portrayed popular opposition to this mosque and several other mosques around the country as evidence of bigotry and so-called “Islamophobia.” This is mass libel by these media institutions.
    The mainstream media has deliberately ignored the fact that there is legitimate basis for fear of mosques — as it is a demonstrable fact that mosques and Muslims have been disproportionately connected to terrorism in this country and around the world, a fact that the media won’t report. Moreover, in the examples of opposition to specific mosques chosen by the media as evidence of popular “bigotry,” the media has selectively ignored the openly available evidence showing unambiguously that these mosques or their officials are connected to or supportive of the radical Muslim Brotherhood (the parent of al-Qaeda), Hamas, and other radical Islamic fundamentalist organizations.
    Why have these media institutions not investigated these ties? Why does the media investigate American charities that support settlements in the West Bank, but refuse to investigate the militant and terrorist ties to mosques and Islamic groups here at home?
    The imam heading up this $100 million project, Faisal Abdul Rauf, enjoys the full support of the sympathizing left-leaning media, and together they have attempted to frame this fight as a First Amendment issue. They’ve worked to cast the opponents of the project — including the 9/11 families — as bigots bent on denying “peaceful Muslims” the “right” to build a facility on their own property. All of this is sheer nonsense, because as many commentators already noted this week, the right to build the mosque was never in question — only the appropriateness of putting it near Ground Zero. It is simply not possible, and indeed quite dishonest, to characterize 70 percent of the population as bigots and “Islamophobes,” despite what the media would have us believe.
    As an American Muslim, I can say with confidence that most folks have no desire to trample our First Amendment rights, and have said so repeatedly. It is not even entirely clear to me that, were the Muslim developers of the mosque genuinely moderate, it would be so bitterly opposed. But then again, they probably would never have proposed such a thing in the first place.
    But how can anyone believe that Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf and his followers are moderates when they very deliberately refuse to condemn Hamas, a sworn enemy of this country and a major center of terror in the world? When asked directly to repudiate the group, all he could say was: “I am not a politician.”
    This is typical of the double-speak and evasive tactics employed by the prominent Muslim groups in America, an unmistakable red flag that something is wrong here.
    He’s also called this country an “accessory” to the 9/11 attacks, and has written that America is shariah (Muslim law) compliant. Forget all the rubbish about “interfaith dialogue” and “mutual understanding.” The ongoing battle over this site has already belied that charade. Abdul Rauf and his Islamic supporters — most of whom are affiliated with Muslim Brotherhood front groups — will never give this project up because there is too much at stake for him. If he manages to get the thing built, he will be one of the most powerful personalities in the Muslim world — radical, moderate, or otherwise. More importantly, the mosque will come to symbolize in the radical Muslim world the triumph of Bin Laden’s attack, and provide a kind of heavenly validation for his approach to spreading radical ideology. For what other reason could the tenth anniversary have been chosen for the groundbreaking?.
    It is not hard to see that this will only inspire more attacks. The logic will be: “If Allah gave us one miracle, maybe He’ll give us more.”
    If some Americans are suspicious and fearful of Muslims, it’s not without good reason, and nothing their self-appointed leadership has done or said in the nine years following 9/11 has allayed those fears. Non-Muslim Americans have yet to see any clean line of demarcation between radical and moderate Muslims. Everywhere around the globe Muslims are the cause of so much bloodshed and turmoil, making life on this planet a living hell.
    What are people to think when they see a group of World Cup fans blown up in Uganda by Somali Muslim psychopaths? Closer to home, a U.S. Army Major shoots his fellow soldiers! What are they to make of a Pakistani national given U.S. citizenship just last year attempting to set off a car bomb in Times Square? And the self-taught “American” sheikh, Anwar al-Awlaki, who from his cave somewhere in Yemen calls on Muslims to murder Americans, and they listen?
    The underlying problem in this bitter controversy is that Muslims in America suffer a deserved trust deficit, wherein they are seen as a foreign and dangerous element. Perhaps if the $100 million being spent on this mosque were used to build, say, a hospital, this perception would begin to change.
    Abdur-Rahman Muhammad is a Washington, D.C.-based writer who was once the Imam of a mosque where he taught radical Muslim ideology. He has since renounced those views and works to combat Islamic extremism in the American Muslim community. He is a senior writer for the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) and his work has appeared in numerous publications such as the Washington Afro American, the Philadelphia New Observer, and others. His work can be read at his popular blog A Singular Voice. He holds a BA degree in Philosophy from Howard University.

  • Randy

    This is what Maimonides himself had to say (ca. 1200) after he had to run for his life from the tolerant Al Andalus:
    You write that the rebel leader in Yemen decreed compulsory apostasy for the Jews by forcing the Jewish inhabitants of all the places he had subdued to desert the Jewish religion just as the Berbers had compelled them to do in Maghreb. Verily, this news has broken our backs and has astounded and dumbfounded the whole of our community. And rightly so. For these are evil tidings. . . . Indeed our hearts are weakened, our minds are confused, and the powers of the body wasted because of the dire misfortunes which brought religious persecutions upon us from the two ends of the world, the East and the West.
    Remember, my coreligionists, that on account of the vast number of our sins, God has hurled us in the midst of this people, the Arabs, who have persecuted us severely, and passed baneful and discriminatory legislation against us.. . . Never did a nation molest, degrade, debase .and hate us as much as they. . . . Although we were dishonored by them beyond human endurance, and had to put up with their fabrications, yet we behave like him who is depicted by the inspired writer, “But I am as a deaf man, I hear not, and I am as a dumb man that openeth not his mouth” (Psalm 38: 14). Similarly our sages instructed us to bear the prevarications and preposterousness of Ishmael in silence. . . . We have acquiesced, both old and young, to inure ourselves to humiliation, as Isaiah instructed us, “I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair” (50 :6). All this notwithstanding, we do not escape this continued maltreatment which well nigh crushes us. No matter how we suffer and elect to remain at peace with them, they stir up strife and sedition, as David predicted. “I am all peace, but when I speak, they are for war” (Ps. 120:7)
    May God, Who created the world with the attributes of mercy, grant us the privilege to behold the return of the exiles to the portion of His inheritance, to contemplate the graciousness of the Lord and to visit early in His Temple. May He take us out from the Valley of the Shadow of Death wherein He put us. May He remove darkness from our eyes, and gloom from our hearts. May He fulfill in our days as well as yours the prophecy contained in the verse, “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light” (Isaiah 9: 1). . . . Peace, peace, as the light that shines and much peace until the moon be no more. Amen.
    Moses b. Maimon (Maimonides)

  • Rory

    Aziz,
    Do you believe in the primacy of Sharia (Islamic Law) in society—any society.?

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